GAA Football

Armagh and Monaghan ladies footballers settle for share of spoils

The injured Aimee Mackin of Armagh had to replaced by her sister Blaithin
Louise Gunn

TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 2 round 1: Armagh 1-11 Monaghan 1-11

ARMAGH and Monaghan had to settle for a share of the spoils in their opening TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship round one fixture at St Tiernach's Park, Clones on Saturday.

This was a tense battle between the two Ulster sides, both of whom were targeting the win to get them up and running with just two from the group's three teams qualifying for the knockout stages and Munster champions Cork waiting in the wings for both sides over the next two weekends.

Both sides will feel this was a game for the taking; Armagh will certainly rue their wide count including 10 in the first half while Caroline O'Hanlon had a chance to clinch victory with the last kick of the game only to drag her free wide of the target.

Monaghan led by five at half-time, 1-6 to 0-4, but four minutes from the end saw them go behind by one, and needed the boot of Ellen McCarron to send over her fourth free of the day to level matters.

Armagh managers Fionnuala McAtamney and Lorraine McCaffrey were forced to make two changes to their starting full-forward line with the injured Aimee Mackin replaced by her sister Blaithin and Megan Sheridan coming in for Kelly Mallon.

“We were disappointed not the close out the game,” said McCaffrey.

“The character of this team has been questioned throughout the year and the girls answered it in emphatic style in the second half. With 13 minutes to go we were four points down. We never lost faith in the players and they never lost faith in themselves.

At half-time they what they had to do and they delivered it in the second half.

“We had the chance to win it and unfortunately weren't able to take it but we had other chances to close out the game before that and didn't take them. We win, lose and drawa as a team and we will move forward together and will use that second half performance to prepare for Cork in two weeks' time, where we will have the likes of Aimee [Mackin] and Kelly [Mallon] back to full fitness after injury.”

The sides exchanged the first six points of the game and were level at 0-3 apiece after 18 minutes in a nip and tuck first quarter with both guilty of missed chances. Armagh led twice in that opening period through Fionnuala McKenna frees which were cancelled out by an Ellen McCarron brace before player of the match Ciara McAnespie put Monaghan in front for the first time on 16 minutes. O'Hanlon pointed from play to level matters for a third time before three in-a-row from the boot of McAnespie opened up a 0-6 to 0-4 lead for Monaghan after 27 minutes and it got better for Ann Marie Burns' side when Rosemary Courtney found the back of the net in the 29th minute after Eimear McAnespie's powerful run up the middle to give her side a five point half time advantage.

Armagh reeled off the first three points of the second half through Lauren McConville, an O'Hanlon free and Blaithin Mackin to reduce the deficit to two as Hazel Kingham was sent to the sin bin, however, Rosemary Courtney and Ellen McCarron converted frees extended Monaghan's lead out to four with 47 minutes gone. Armagh were thrown a lifeline in the 49th minute when Mackin found the back of the net to make it a one point game, 1-9 to 1-8 and when they were awarded a penalty in the 52nd minute, it seemed like they were in the ascendancy. O'Hanlon stepped up to the ball but her effort went skimming over the crossbar for a point before McKenna levelled the game at 1-10 apiece from a free in the 54th minute. An O'Hanlon point Armagh in front for the first time since the 12th minute with four minutes left on the clock before McCarron kept her cool on a free to level matters for the fifth time. O'Hanlon then had that chance to clinch a last gasp victory but in the end they had to settle for the draw.

Monaghan boss Ann Marie Burns admits her side was lucky to come away with the draw after Armagh had the chance to win it.

“We got away with it, we were very lucky,” said Burns. “We would have banked on Caroline [O'Hanlon] to score that free. It's a draw and we have to regroup this week and go to Cork and see how we get on.”

Armagh: C O'Hare; C Morgan, C McCambridge, M Morriarty; T Grimes (0-1), M Tennyson, M Sheridan; S Reel, C O'Hanlon (0-5, 0-3f 0-1pen); M McGuinness, A McCoy, S Marley; L McConville (0-1), F McKenna (0-2f), B Mackin (1-1).

Subs: K Mallon (0-1f) for McGuinness (37), R O'Reilly for Tennyson (60).

Monaghan: L Marin; S Courtney, F Courtney, J Fitzpatrick; A McAnespie, H Kingham, R McKenna; E McKenna, E McAnespie (0-1); R Courtney (1-1 0-1f), M Atkinson, C Courtney; C McAnespie (0-4), N Callan, E McCarron (0-5, 0-4f).

Subs: E Woods for McKenna (39), J Drury for Atkinson (47).

Referee: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan).

TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 4 round 1: Cavan 4-13 Mayo 3-23

CAVAN hit 4-13 against Mayo in their TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship group game but still ended up on the wrong side of the result after a high scoring encounter in the second of a double header at St Tiernach's Park Clones on Saturday afternoon.

Scores were free-flowing throughout the 60 minutes on both sides as Mayo seemed to put their difficult week firmly behind them with this impressive performance, particulary from their full-forward line, against a Cavan side who can take a lot of positives from this game going into this weekend's crunch encounter with All-Ireland champions Dublin.

Mayo's full forward line combined for 3-18 of their 3-23 total, of which all but one point came from play, as Grace Kelly finished with 2-6, Sarah Rowe 1-7 and Kelly's sister Niamh five points.

Cavan's scorers came from nine different players, including all six forwards with Aisling Maguire top scoring with 1-5.

Breffni boss James Daly in the lead-up to this game said he felt Cavan could put it up to last year's All-Ireland and the 2018 Division One finalists and they certainly did that.

“The further away we get from the game, the more positives I can take out of it,” said Daly yesterday. “There were three pointsi n it with 12 minutes to go when Donna [English] was sent to the sin bin. We had no problem with the sin bin but we were a bit aggrieved that one of the Mayo midfielders did not get a sin bin as well especially as she had been ticked three times, so in that respect we feel we were harshly done by.

“That said, mishandling errors gifted them two goals, we were probably too ‘nice', Mayo were much more physical and cuter in terms of fouling us in the middler third, so we have learned a lot from it. They might have beenmissing five starting players but their full-forward line of Sarah Rowe and Grace and Niamh Kelly were unreal. It was a great game for the forwards on both sides and for us to score 4-13 and still lose in a game that yielded 7-36 shows that. We have the All-Ireland champions Dublin now this weekend and we are looking forward to it.”

The sides were level four times in the opening quarter as they went almost score for score. Sarah Rowe got Mayo up and running but a Bronagh Sheridan free cancelled that out and then they took the lead through Aisling Maguire. It would be the only time they led but Mayo could never really shake them off until the final few minutes and the seven point winning margin did not do the Cavan challenge justice.

Fiona Doherty and Niamh Kelly edged Mayo into a two point lead, 0-6 to 0-4 and despite Maguire pulling one back for Cavan, the Connacht side hit two in-a-row to move three clear. However, Maguire had her side right back in it when she raised the green flag in the 20th minute to level the game for a fifth time at 1-5 to 0-8. However, Mayo finished the half stronger outscoring Cavan 1-5 to 1-1 while their net minder Sorcha Murphy also played her part denying Donna English and Sinead Greene. A Grace Kelly goal in the 25th minute and two points in a minute from Rowe and Fiona Doherty opened up a six point lead, 1-12 to 1-6 as half-time loomed. However, with Cavan goalkeeper Evelyn Baugh denying Mayo at one end, at the other, Donna English fired to the back of the net after a great run from Catherine Dolan to give her side a fighting chance after half-time, 1-13 to 2-6.

A strong start to the second half for Mayo saw their lead extend to 2-15 to 2-7, Grace Kelly with her second goal just three minutes after the resumption. Two Cavan goals, the first from Aishling Sheridan in the 35th minute and then another from Catherine Dolan in the 39th minute saw Mayo's lead drastically reduced to three points, 2-16 to 4-7. But Mayo responded emphatically and Rowe's major after a brilliant turn and dummy almost immediately after gave them a crucial six point buffer. Maguire, from three frees, and Roisin O'Keefe brought it back to a three point game once again, 3-17 to 4-11, with eight minutes remaining, but Mayo picked it up again and finished strong with five unanswered points, three in-a-row from Grace Kelly, to put the game beyond Cavan's reach, as they finished with 13 players after following yellow cards for English and Maguire.

Mayo: S Murphy; E Lowther, N O'Malley, D Caldwell; R Kearns, C McManamon, K Sullivan (0-1); N Moran, D Finn; S Mulvihill, F Doherty (0-3), S Cafferkey; N Kelly (0-5), S Rowe (1-7), G Kelly (2-6, 0-1f).

Subs: R Flynn for Lowther (39), T O'Connor for Mulvihill (41), E Needham (0-1) for Rowe (42), S Ludden for Moran (48), S Rowe for Caldwell (49).

Cavan: E Baugh; R Doonan, G McGlade, J Moore; S Greene (0-2), L Fitzpatrick, S O'Sullivan; N Byrd, D English (1-0); C Smith (0-1), A Maguire (1-5, 0-4f), C Dolan (1-0); A Sheridan (1-0), B Sheridan (0-3, 0-1f), C Finnegan (0-1).

Subs: S Reilly for Fitzpatrick (21), A Cornyn for Smith (h-t), L McVeety for Finnegan (38), R O'Keeffe (0-1) for B Sheridan (43).

Referee: Niall McCormack (Laois).

TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship

ULSTER champions and last year's defeated All-Ireland finalists Tyrone sent out a message to the rest of the championship teams that they are determined to go one step further this year after a 5-18 to 2-6 victory over Wickow in their Group 2 first round clash at St Tiernach's Park Clones on Sunday.

Tyrone were always expected to get their All-Ireland campaign off to a winning start but Leinster runners-up Wicklow went toe-to-toe with the Ulster side for the first 20 or so minutes.

But once Gerry Moane's side settled into their rhythm and weathered that early Wicklow storm, a strong final 10 minutes to the first half, in which they hit 2-4 set up them for what finished as a comfortable 21 victory.

Grainne Rafferty gave Tyrone the ideal start when she found the back of the net in the third minute as Tryone led early on 1-2 to no score, but a lapse in defence from the Red Hands saw Wicklow's Jackie Kinch nip in and raise a green flag for the Garden County as Meadhbh Deeney followed up with a point.

That was the wake up call that Tyrone needed and either side of half-time they hit they amassed 3-11 to put the game firmly beyond Wicklow. Rafferty netted her second and Chloe McCaffrey grabbed her first of two as Tyrone led 3-8 to 1-4 at the break.

They picked up on the resumption where they left off with further goals coming from Gemma Begley, who finished with 1-3, and McCaffrey who got 2-2 to her name while Niamh O'Neill chipped in with four points over the course of the game. Rafferty finished top scorer with 2-3 as Tyrone set themselves up nicely to make the knockout stages. Wicklow to their credit did not give up although chances were few and far between, but they did manage to grab a second goal when corner forward Rose Fagan found the back of the net late on. Next up for Tyrone is Offaly in Mullahoran on Saturday, July 28.

Meath also signalled their intent as All-Ireland title contenders with an 11-24 to 2-6 victory over Fermanagh in Sunday's other fixture in Clones.

This group 4 round one game was effectively over at half-time with the Royals leading 6-12 to 1-2. After losing to Wicklow in the Leinster semi-final, the Division Three finalists felt they had a point to prove and Fermanagh were on the end of the backlash.

The Erne County were always going to be up against it although they did make a good start when Joanne Doonan found goaled. That was quickly cancelled out by Niamh O'Sullivan who got the first of 11 majors for Meath, but by the 13th minute there were just three points between them as Fermanagh trailed 1-4 to 1-1. However, Meath took over from there on and laid siege to the Fermanagh goal, hitting 5-8 in the remainder of the half, Marion Farrelly with two goals and Vikki Wall, Emma White and Stacey Grimes each grabbing one to give their side a 25 point cushion at half-time.

Fermanagh got the first score of the second half but by the 38th minute, Meath had raised three more green flags including a Stacey Grimes goal from the penalty spot. Farrelly completed her hat-trick as captain Niamh O'Sullivan also got a brace as Meath recorded 13 different scorers.

Lisa Maguire did manage a consolation goal for Fermanagh. Fermanagh face Roscommon on the weekend of July 28/29 in their final group game in a must-win game if they are to keep any qualification hopes alive.

TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship

There were defeats for last year's All-Ireland junior finalists Derry and Antrim in their opening group games in the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship on Saturday.

Derry lost by the narrowest of margins 2-9 to 1-11 agaisnt Carlow, who avenged last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat. A slow start saw the Oak Leaf county playing catch-up and they were 1-4 to no score down before their first score in the 16th minute, however, they rallied well to go in level at the break 1-6 apeice. However, a second Carlow goal proved decisive and the victory leaves them in a prime position for knockout football with just one game left against Limerick. Derry, however, play Limerick at home next weekend and they must win it otherwise their season will be over.

Antrim's hopes of qualification for the semi-finals also took a knock with a 3-17 to 1-9 defeat to Louth, who are one of the favourites for junior honours this year.

It was 0-4 apiece after the first quarter but when Lauren Boyle netted for Louth they kicked on and finished the half stronger to lead 1-9 to 0-7 at the break.

They also made a strong start to the second half with further points from Sinead Woods, Boyle and Bonnie Fleming and stretched their lead to 1-14 to 0-8 by the 42nd minute. With Antrim just managing one more point after that and a goal from substitute Emily Falloon, Boyle hit a second and third goal completing her hat-trick as she finished with 3-7. Antrim have remaining games against London, who put up a big score against Kilkenny, and then the Leinster semi-finalists Kilkenny themselves with just the top two from the group qualifying for the 6V?????

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